Skin Cancer

One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lives. Early detection of a skin cancer is very important and can save lives. All of our dermatologists provide careful, thorough skin examinations to evaluate moles and other suspicious lesions. If biopsy is required, we aim to achieve the ideal cosmetic outcome. If a skin cancer is diagnosed, we discuss potential treatment options with you and treat it or arrange further treatment. We also follow you carefully over time as patients diagnosed with one skin cancer are more likely to have others in the future.

There are several types of skin cancer.

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer. It may appear as a shiny, flesh-colored translucent or pearly bump, a sore that does not heal or an irritated, pink growth. It is most common on skin exposed to the sun. While these tumors very rarely spread to other parts of the body, early diagnosis and treatment is important.

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) may appear as a crusted, scaly lesion. It also usually appears on sun-exposed areas, but can develop on the mouth and genitalia. SCC requires early treatment to prevent spread or metastasis to other areas of the body.

Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer, because it has the potential to grow and spread rapidly. Melanoma can develop in an existing mole or may be a new growth. With early detection and treatment, the cure rate for melanoma is very high.For advanced cases, we work closely with the Stanford Multidisciplinary Melanoma Clinic to coordinate treatment and follow up care. Melanoma can run in families, and it is important to have a yearly skin check if a family member has melanoma.   For further information regarding skin cancer, please see our links to the American Academy of Dermatology and Skin Cancer Foundation, in addition to information regarding sunscreen and sun protective clothing on our FAQ’s page.